Monday, June 08, 2009

Patron Saint of Confession


I was recently introduced to St. Leopold Mandic by a priest friend.

He was a physically frail Capuchin Friar with a malformed body but with a very strong spiritual faith.

He helped so many people through his apostolate as a confessor, spending many long hours hearing confessions. He was very compassionate to people in despair because of their enslavement to sin.
Early in his Capuchin life, Leopold Mandic was asked to surrender his missionary aspirations and personal preference so as to be given the work of Confessor and Spiritual Advisor. He once expressed his feelings about this when he said: "I am like a bird in a cage, but my heart is beyond the seas."

A Prayer

O God, source of life and love, you gave Saint Leopold a tremendous compassion for sinners and a desire for church unity. Through his prayers, grant that we may acknowledge our need of forgiveness, show love to others, and strive to bring about a living unity among Christians. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

We have in heaven the heart of a mother, The Virgin, our Mother, who at the foot of the Cross suffered as much as possible for a human creature, understands our troubles and consoles us.

St. Leopold Mandic Capuchin

Source of background of St. Leopold Mandic and prayer here
Pope Paul VI's homily at the beatification of Fr.Leopold
( Excerpts )

Look! Look! Saint Francis! Do you see him? Look how poor he is, how human. It is indeed Saint Francis himself, so humble, so serene, so absorbed as to appear carried away in his own inner vision of the invisible presence of God. And yet to us and for us he remains so present, so accessible, so available that he appears to know us, to await us, to know all about us and to be able to read our hearts. Look well: he is a poor little Capuchin, he looks ill and frail and yet so strangely strong that we seem to be drawn to him spellbound. Look at him through Franciscan eyes. Do you see him? Are you astonished? Who is he? Yes, let us admit it, he is frail, popular yet true image of Jesus, of that very Jesus who speaks at once to the ineffable God, to the Father who is Lord of heaven and earth, and also to us, bound up as we are in the littleness of our suffering humanity. [...]

But who is it, then? It is Father Leopold. Yes, the Servant of God, Fr. Leopold of Castelnovo, who was called Adeodato Mandic before he became a friar. [...] Here, in this case, Canon Law has been indulgent, departing from the rule which does not permit the discussion of the virtues of a Servant of God until fifty years after his death. Yet, how could his case be delayed when the voice of the people in favour of his holiness, instead of fading with the passing of time, grew ever more insistent, more well-documented and more certainly authenticated? The judgement of the Church (cfr. can. 2101), in anticipation a favourable conclusion, had to give way to the spontaneous chorus of all who had known this humble Capuchin or had experienced his marvelous intercession. So it is not only those who have benefited from his prayers who proclaim Fr. Leopold's exceptional moral and spiritual worth. There are a few still living who can testify to this, saying: "I knew him. Yes, he was a holy religious, a man of God, one of those exceptional souls who at once impress their sanctity upon us." And in the memory of those who know something of the history of the Capuchin Order there appears again the remembrance of those great friars of the past, faithful to the most strict Franciscan traditions personifying his holiness. Let us just recall one typical literary figure, well-known to all: Manzoni's Fr. Cristoforo.

[...] The late Cardinal Larraona, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, in the 1962 decree regarding the Beatification of Fr. Leopold wrote as follows: "This was his daily routine; after saying Mass early in the morning, he used to sit in the confession room and stay there the whole day long hearing confessions. He kept this up for about forty years without any complaint." This is, we believe, the primary reason that has won for this humble Capuchin the Beatification which we are now celebrating.

He became holy principally in the exercise of the Sacrament of Penance. Thank God, many splendid accounts of this aspect of the sanctity of the new Blessed have already appeared. We have only to admire and thank the Lord for offering to the Church in these days such a singular figure of a minister of the sacramental grace of Penance. [...] May Blessed Leopold strengthen souls eager for spiritual advancement to assiduous frequenting of Confession which some critics, certainly not inspired by mature Christian wisdom, would like to see relegated among the outmoded forms of living, and personal spirituality.

[...] To you Franciscan Brothers of the Capuchin Order: our thanks for having given to the Church and to the world a typical example of your strict, friendly and wholesome school of Christianity as faithful to itself as it is able to rouse up again the joy of prayer and goodness in the hearts of the people.

To you sons of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the whole of Yugoslavia: honour to you for having brought forth in our time such a lofty and yet human example of your Catholic tradition.

And to you Paduans: we wish you to honour, beside your own Saint Anthony, this not dissimilar Franciscan brother so that from them both you may hand on to the next generations the Christian and human virtues already so splendidly enshrined in your history.

Source for homily excerpt

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